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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Scooter fleets are popping up across the country, and cities want access to rider data in exchange for letting them operate.

Driving the news: Los Angeles has spearheaded the “mobility data specification," a format for transferring transportation data between cities and electric scooter companies like Bird and Lime. A number of other U.S. cities have adopted it in some form.

What cities are saying: “Cities have historically been the ones to manage the public realm,” says Seleta Reynolds, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. “But we had not yet contemplated what that would look like in the digital realm."

  • Cities need real-time location tracking, Reynolds said. “If a scooter ends up in a place where it’s not supposed to be, the company has two hours to come pick it up and collect it or the city can impound it."
  • Cities want location data, but sensitive data like credit card information would stay with the scooter or bike company, she said.

The other side: “I just don’t think the cities have made the case for individualized trip data,” said Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Jamie Williams.

  • She argues parking enforcement and tracking vehicle distribution doesn't require individual trip data, which can be analyzed to identify riders even if it's stripped of direct identifiers.
  • There are also concerns about the data being handled by third-party city planning tools like Remix and RideReport.

Meanwhile, California's legislature is considering a bill that would ban cities from collecting individual trip data, allowing only aggregate data to be collected.

The bottom line: “Just looking at scooter data is too short sighted — this is a model for getting access to data for other transportation,” says Williams. “Scooters are a really divisive issue, but a lot of those people also probably taking Lyft and Uber and would feel differently about that data.”

Go deeper:

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.